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Why is STEAM Important in the Early Years?

Introduction to Little STEAMers

I’m Laura and I teach Little STEAMers classes for children aged 2-5 where we learn about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) with hands-on practical activities.

Why is STEAM important in Early Years?

I love coming up with activities that get young children playing, exploring and learning about STEAM, because that’s how they learn about the world around them. STEAM is the world around them, from gravity making their brick fall to the floor to absorption helping the paper towels soak up their water spillage.

STEAM learning will continue to be all around them as they pursue their education through school and beyond.  In fact, children who have experience of STEAM learning in the early years have been shown to have a better chance of transitioning into school life with ease along with better confidence and performance there too.

STEAM in the early years focuses on self-directed play and exploration and so the very best activities get children engaged with and curious about what they’re doing. It might sound a bit daunting at first, but TTS have such a wide range of STEAM resources that it’s easy to bring STEAM learning to your setting any time.

Below is a simple activity idea you can use to spark children’s engagement with STEAM learning:

Nature Hunters

Resource: See and Speak Recordable Magnifying Glass 6pk

STEAM Learning: Science: Plants; Minibeasts; Making observations Technology: Using recording devices Arts: Drawing and using colour to record observations Maths: Counting; Describing shape and size STEM Skills: Putting observations into words.

Children love getting to use technology and they also love treasure hunts. In this Nature Hunters activity, they get to do both as they explore like real scientists and record their observations, whilst developing their communication skills too. This is an incredibly adaptable activity and can be paired with minibeasts, spring growth or autumn changes. You could even hide things for them to hunt for in other topics too.

What to do:

  1. Give each child a recordable magnifying glass and tell them they’ll be going on an outdoor nature hunt looking for specific items, e.g., autumn leaves, bugs, spring shoots growing, flowers etc. You might give them a specific item each or let them choose.
  2. Show children how a magnifying glass makes things appear bigger, how to use the recording device and how to make observations to describe carefully what they see. They’ll find describing the objects difficult at first so model this slowly.
  3. Send children on their nature hunt with their magnifying glasses. Check in that they are successfully recording themselves by asking them to play back what they have.
  4. When they return, ask them to play back their observations for each other to listen to. Can they discuss their findings with each other?
  5. They can then draw what they saw onto paper, using their recordings to help them remember the details.
  6. As you repeat with other nature items to find, children’s observational skills will improve.

If you would like to watch Laura demonstrating the activity, click the video link below.


If you enjoyed this activity, why not head over to Laura’s other Early Years STEAM activities by following the links below:

Ed Tech Basics: How can we use podcasts in the classroom?

Jodie Lopez is an ex primary school teacher who won a number of awards for her use of technology across the curriculum. She moved from full time teaching into working with education technology companies to help bridge the gap between schools and products/services on offer. Jodie is a mum of 2 young boys. As a

Read More »

Ed Tech Basics: Bringing technology into the classroom

Jodie Lopez is an ex primary school teacher who won a number of awards for her use of technology across the curriculum. She moved from full time teaching into working with education technology companies to help bridge the gap between schools and products/services on offer. Jodie is a mum of 2 young boys. As a

Read More »

With many thanks to Laura Cross from Little STEAMers for writing this blog for us.

Article written by Laura Cross

Laura is a qualified and experienced teacher who now runs Little STEAMers sessions for schools and nurseries. With Little STEAMers, children play, explore, and learn about different STEAM subjects with fun and practical activities.

More STEAM Activity Ideas >> 

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